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13 Best Dog Parks in New Jersey: Social Time for Spot!

Dog Parks By Kelsey Snyder 16 min read May 24, 2021

Dog parks in New Jersey

When most people think of dog parks, they likely don’t think of New Jersey. But this seaside state is chock full of doggone amazing dog parks! Ranging from urban canine oases to barking beaches, New Jersey dog parks come in all shapes and sizes. 

Below, we’ll introduce you to some of the best dog parks the Garden State has to offer and explain some of the most crucial info you’ll need to know before visiting one. 

What Should You Look for in a Dog Park?

Why visit a dog park

Before visiting a new dog park with your fur friend, it’s important to do your homework to ensure you’re selecting the safest and most suitable park for him. This means looking into the park’s amenities, layout, and more. 

The most important factors to consider when researching a new dog park are:

  • Space: Dogs should have plenty of room to run and play and not feel boxed in. Ideally, a dog park should have a few acres for dogs to roam, especially if it’s an off-leash setting.
  • Fencing: Secure dog-proog fencing is a must for keeping your dog in as well as keeping any unfriendly dogs out. Ideally, double-gate entrances are in place to prevent any four-legged friends from slipping out of the secure area.
  • Terrain: Mulch and grass are dog-friendly choices for Fido. Many pooches also love having a designated sand or dirt patch to dig in (if allowed.) While dirt-only areas are fun, conditions quickly get messy and muddy when rain is involved.
  • Water access: Some dog parks feature a stream or pond for swimming. While these are great for water-loving wonderdogs, care and discretion are necessary for dogs who don’t swim well. 
  • Separate spaces: Most dog parks have small and large dog areas. Some also include a so-called “calm” dog area where older, more relaxed pooches can hang out with similar pups. This sectioned-off setup keeps everyone happy and is something to look for if you have a small or older dog.
  • Rules: Posted rules are great, but it’s important that they’re enforced, too. So, always research a dog park’s rules before visiting — some impose fines or bans for breaking them.
  • Lighting: Well-lit dog parks are best if you’re planning early morning or evening visits. Not only are these safer for you, but for your dog too, illuminating any potential threats, such as wild animals.
  • Waste disposal: You’ll need to dispose of your dog’s poop when visiting the park, so be sure to look for parks with ample trash cans and waste bag dispensers. This helps maintain a dog park’s beauty and cleanliness.
  • Human amenities: Benches and bathrooms go a long way in having a comfortable outing with your four-footer.
  • Hours: While most are open from dawn to dusk, some dog parks may have unusual hours.
  • Tag requirements: Some dog parks require visitors to purchase a membership for use while others are free. While these mean an upfront fee, owners are required to show proof of vaccinations to sign up, which weeds out any concerns in that department.
  • Breed restrictions: Sadly, bully breeds such as pit bulls are not welcome at all parks.
  • Dog limits: In addition to posted maximum capacities for each dog run, some parks may limit how many dogs one person can bring at a time.
New Jersey Dog Parks

The Best Dog Parks in New Jersey

With New Jersey’s suburban sprawls, wooded areas, and beaches, the state’s dog parks are as diverse as its landscape. From urban to rural, here are our top picks of New Jersey dog parks: 

1. Freedom Barks Dog Park

Freedom Barks Dog Park

About: Located within Freedom Park, Freedom Barks is the ultimate experience for doggos who love to stretch their legs and explore. With a little something for every dog and plenty of benches and other human comforts, it’s a quality pick for an afternoon of fun.

Info:

Special notes:

  • Both fenced and unfenced sections, so pay attention to signage
  • Mixed terrain of grass, dirt, and forest floor
  • Designated small and large dog areas
  • Agility equipment available 
  • Open fields and wooded areas included (tick preventative recommended)
  • Multiple trails for hiking with your dog off-leash
  • Stream for swimming and water play
  • Limit of 2 dogs per person allowed
  • Nearby pathed and wooded trails available for leashed walks
  • Trash cans and poop bags available 
  • Restrooms available
Personal Experience with Freedom Barks

Keep an eye out for signage about fencing.

During my first visit, I was reassured by a fellow pup parent that the area I was in was fully fenced before I let my headstrong Cairn terrier off leash. Turns out, there was a wooded area “barrier” but no actual fencing in that location.

I spent an hour chasing my dog around the rest of the park, as she took the “freedom” in the park’s name a little too seriously.

2. Timber Creek Dog Park

Timber Creek Dog Park

About: A spacious area with mixed terrain for play, Timber Creek Dog Park is like a day at doggo day camp in the forest. From wooded walking paths to a water source, your pup will have plenty of new places to explore each visit.

Info:

Special Notes:

  • Large, fenced-in area includes hiking trails and trees (tick preventative recommended)
  • Separate areas available for small and calm doggos, who don’t like a ton of action
  • Water feature for swimming
  • Sandy area for digging
  • Nearby trails for leashed walks
  • Poop bags and trash bins located on-site
  • Porta Potties and nearby bathrooms accessible

3. Wantage Dog Park

Wantage Dog Park NJ

About: A large swath of acreage with both leashed and off-leash areas, Wantage Dog Park is a top-notch pick in the picturesque hills of Sussex county. Best of all, it’s free to enter.

Info:

  • Area: Sussex County
  • Address: 128 County Road 628, Wantage, NJ 07461
  • Website: http://www.wantagedogpark.com/
  • Open Hours: Dawn to dusk
  • Size: 8 acres (4 acres fenced)

Special Notes:

  • Includes separate spaces for small, large, and older dogs
  • Grass, dirt, and gravel terrain
  • Wading creek water source 
  • Agility course available 
  • Poop bags and trash cans provided
  • 2 dog limit per person
  • Benches, covered seating areas, and Porta Potties available

4. Barnegat Light Dog Park

Barnegat Dog Park NJ

About: A fun hangout for shore-footed fur friends, Barnegat Light Dog Park is located on Long Beach Island. Offering clear sightlines and a spacious, no-fuss area, it’s ideal for most dogs looking for a play session with other pups.

Info:

Special notes:

  • Paw Pass required. These are free for Barnegat Light residents, $15 per week for non-residents, and $30 annually for non-residents.
  • No designated small and large dog areas
  • Site is an old ballpark that’s been converted into a dog park
  • Mixture of grass, stone, and dirt terrain that shouldn’t get very muddy in the rain
  • Open space with no heavy tree coverage
  • All dogs must be leashed going to and from the park
  • Secured double-gate entrance
  • No digging permitted
  • Benches available for pup parents to rest
  • Doggo water fountain available
  • Waste bags and trash cans located onsite

5. Wolf Hill Dog Park

Wolf Hill Dog Park NJ

About: Nestled within the Wolf Hill Recreation Area, Wolf Hill Dog Park is a two-section setup that offers space for your floof to stretch his legs and meet new friends. Wide open with a few trees to sniff and sprinkle, you can easily monitor your pooch while he runs around.

Info:

  • Area: Monmouth County
  • Address: 3 Crescent Pl, Oceanport, NJ 07757
  • Website: https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/page.aspx?Id=2548
  • Open hours: The park’s hours vary by season. It’s open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM through May 2nd, from May 3rd to June 13th it’s open from 7:00 AM to 8:30 PM, and from June 14th to July 11th, the park is open from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. 
  • Size: 4 acres

Special notes:

  • Two fenced dog areas: one for dogs less than 35 pounds and another for all other pooches 
  • Large mixed terrain space with grass and dirt
  • Some trees and brush (tick preventative recommended)
  • All dogs must be spayed and neutered
  • Only 2 dogs per owner permitted at a time
  • Portable toilets available nearby
  • Shaded benches available for pup parents 

6. Rosedale Dog Park

Rosedale Dog Park
Image from MapQuest.

About: A part of the Mercer County park system, Rosedale Dog Park is within Rosedale Park and features large, fenced-in sections for off-leash play. With grassy areas and cool hideouts, it’s an excellent place for your dog to gallop around with his newest fur friends.

Info:

Special notes:

  • Small and large dog sections for safe play
  • Grass and dirt terrain, though it can get very muddy
  • Man-made tunnels and play obstacles for doggo enrichment
  • Doggy water fountain available
  • Nearby trails for leashed walks
  • Poop bags and trash cans located onsite 
  • Tables and benches available for pawrents to take in the action

7. Ocean County Off Leash Dog Area (Lakewood)

Ocean County Dog Area
Image from Waymarking.com.

About: The Ocean County Off Leash Dog Area in Lakewood offers a hidden perk of its Pineland location — little to no mud. Thanks to its sandy terrain, this no-fuss location doesn’t get quite as soupy as other dog parks and is a prime choice for off-leash play. 

Info:

Special notes:

  • Annual $5 membership fee, requiring proof of vaccination 
  • All male dogs must be neutered
  • Grassy and sandy areas for play
  • Separate sections for large and small dogs
  • Limit of 2 dogs per person
  • Trash cans and poop bag dispensers available
  • Wooded setting means tick preventative is highly recommended 

8. Rocky Top Dog Park

Rocky Top Dog Park NJ
Photo from CityProfile.com.

About: Rocky Top Dog Park requires a private membership fee, but with it comes peace of mind, as all dogs must be vaccinated and the facilities are well-maintained. With fun climbing rocks and grassy areas, your pup will have plenty of places to explore.

Info:

Special notes:

  • Offers mixed terrain, including grass, dirt, and rocks
  • Partially wooded, so tick preventative is recommended
  • Separated into 3 sections for small, small/medium, and all dog sizes
  • Fee required for access: $25 annually for South Brunswick residents, $200 annually for non-residents. Monthly trials are also available for $10 for South Brunswick residents or $40 for non-residents.
  • Fenced and secured by a locking gate with a key fob required
  • Pond available in the “all dogs” section
  • Males must be neutered, and females cannot be in heat
  • Poo bags and trash cans located onsite 
  • Benches and nearby portable toilets available

9. Edison-Metuchen Community Dog Park

About: Relax and unwind with your pooch at this hidden gem within driving distance of New York City. With ample room to burn off zoomies or climb the built-in obstacles, it guarantees an afternoon of fun.

Special notes:

  • Contains both large and small dog sections
  • Mixed terrain of grass, dirt, and gravel
  • Play equipment, including tunnels and weave poles, available onsite
  • Double-gated entrance for extra security
  • Limit of 2 dogs per pup parent
  • All dogs must be spay or neutered
  • Poop bags and trash bins located onsite
  • Benches and water fountains available

10. Egg Harbor Township Dog Park

Egg Harbor Township Dog Park NJ

About: Offering open space to run, play, and dig off leash, this dog park is secured by a membership-only setup, meaning all visitors must have a park-issued key fob to enter. Visiting dogs must have vaccines on file, weeding out any drop-in pup parents who may be irresponsible with shot maintenance. 

Info:

  • Area: Atlantic County
  • Address: 2 Swift Drive, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
  • Website: http://ehtdogpark.com/
  • Open hours: Dawn to dusk
  • Size: 3 acres

Special notes:

  • Sandy terrain (may not be the best choice on a hot day)
  • Divided into 3 sections (small dogs, large dogs, mixed yard)
  • Annual membership required ($40 for county residents; $50 for non-residents)
  • Membership includes 2 dogs per family, additional dogs require another fee
  • Poop bags and trash cans located onsite
  • Benches available

11. Wildwood Dog Park & Beach

Wildwood Dog Park & Beach NJ

About: Let your dog wag his tail among the waves at this unique dog park and beach. Located right on the beach in Wildwood, you and your pooch can enjoy the view and ocean air as he meets new friends on the sand.

Info:

Special notes:

  • Features an off-leash dog park and beach access where your pup must be leashed
  • Small and large dog areas
  • Beachy, sandy terrain
  • Fresh water and poop bags available within the dog park section
  • Homemade obstacle course onsite 
  • While the dog park is fully fenced, it is a bit low, so caution is necessary with fence jumpers
  • A sheet for the car and towel for cleanup are recommended as your dog will get quite sandy
  • Dogs aren’t allowed on the boardwalk, so remember to use the entrance on Maple Ave

12. City of Vineland Dog Park

City of Vineland Dog Park NJ

About: A newer dog park, this hidden gem features quality fencing and dog park must-haves, like fresh water and a secure double-gated entrance. Large enough for play but small enough to wrangle your pooch with ease if needed, this dog park has the best of both worlds.

  • Area: Cumberland County
  • Address: Laurel Rd and Lincoln Ave, Vineland, NJ 08361
  • Facebook Page (no website available)
  • Open hours: 6:00 AM to Dusk
  • Size: 1 acre

Special notes:

  • 2 runs available: 1 for large dogs and 1 for small dogs
  • Dirt and grass terrain with wooded overhead
  • Double-gated entrance
  • Tunnels available for peekaboo play
  • Onsite dog watering station 
  • Trash cans and poop bags are available
  • Limit of 2 dogs per person
  • Benches available 

13. Gloucester County Dog Park

Gloucester Country Dog Park NJ

About: An open-air location with clear sightlines throughout both dog runs, you can keep a watchful eye on your pooch while he runs around with his fur friends. With no trees located in the runs, there’s less of a tick risk than more wooded locations.

Info:

Special notes:

  • Grass and dirt terrain
  • Small and large dog runs available 
  • Double-gated entrance
  • Doggy water fountain available 
  • 2 gazebos with picnic tables
  • Poo bags and trash cans onsite 
  • Multiple benches available for pup parents

Dog Park Etiquette

To keep your dog park adventure as fun as possible, it’s important to keep a few things in mind during your visit: 

  • Clean up: Keep the area looking its best by picking up your pupper’s poop. To be on the safe side, bring a few extra poop bags whenever visiting a park.
  • Follow the rules: Rules vary by park. Study them in advance if you can to make sure you’re in compliance. Things like toy restrictions and dog limits can differ from park to park, and large dogs should never be brought into small dog runs.
  • Bring a leash: Even if the park allows off-leash romps, you’ll need a leash to get to and from the area. It’s also important to have a leash on hand in case of canine conflicts. 
  • Do not bring treats, chews, or food: Not only are dietary restrictions a concern among other dogs, but not every pooch is friendly when food or bones are around.
  • Watch your dog: This one’s obvious, but pay more attention to your pooch than your smartphone. 
  • Monitor children: Be careful if you’re bringing human kiddos along for the fun, and keep your two-footers away from unfamiliar four-footers. Not every dog is used to children.
  • Always encourage friendly play: As long as tails are wagging, you’re in the clear, but if your dog is being a bully, it may be time to head home for the day.
  • Discourage mounting: Mounting behavior is not only rude on your doggo’s behalf, but it’s also a bannable offense at some parks. To get a better understanding of whether or not your dog is ready for the dog park, make sure to read our dog park etiquette guide for a better idea of what to expect!
  • Be courteous: Everyone is trying to have a good time. Don’t be a party pooper by shouting at anyone’s dog or shooing them away from you aggressively. 
  • No in-heat visits: Female pups who are in heat should stay home. Not only is a visit risky for accidental pregnancy, but it can also be a dog fight risk.
  • Healthy pups only: If your dog is ill or on the mend from injury, the dog park isn’t the place for him.
  • No fleas, please: Only bring your dog if he’s up-to-date on flea and tick preventative. Nothing’s worse than coming home with fleas.
  • Up-to-date vaccines: Because your dog will be around so many other dogs, make sure his vaccines are current to avoid issues.
  • Err on the side of caution: If your dog is socially selective in the slightest, a dog park isn’t the place for him. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of dog park alternatives that might be a better fit. He may be better suited finding a buddy to enjoy playing outside of such an uncontrolled setting.
  • Take responsibility: If your dog bites a person or another dog, you are liable. Don’t leave the scene without handling the issue at hand. Depending on the severity, it may need to be reported, and you can be held liable for any veterinary or medical costs. This makes the previous bullet point essential.

Dog Park Must-Haves

dog park etiquette

Before any dog park visit, pack a few things to make the trip easier. These help with everything from cooling down to cleanup. 

This list includes:

  • Cleanup towel: In addition to the expected drool or slobber from running around, sometimes your dog gets muddy or wet during play. A cleanup towel helps rid him of some of this before he hops in your car for the ride home.
  • Sheet or washable car seat cover: Mud, sandy, and grass are just some of the mess that may hide in your pup’s coat and toes after a dog park visit. A cover to contain the mess on the way home is recommended.
  • Water bowl/water: While some parks offer these, it’s always a good idea to pack your own for your pooch, just in case. 
  • Spare leash: Keeping one stowed away in your car isn’t a bad idea.
  • Shot records: It’s a good idea to keep these on hand just in case a dog park requires them for entrance.
  • Flea and tick preventative: Make sure your dog’s preventative is up-to-date, as dog parks are unfortunately the perfect place to catch fleas. Also, ticks are a major concern, especially in wooded areas.
  • Rain gear: If you and your pooch like to visit the park rain or shine, be sure to bring an umbrella for yourself and some rain-proof clothing for your canine.

***

If you’re not a huge fan of the dog parks listed above, make sure to also check out our collection of the best dog parks in New York City as an alternative destination!

Have you visited any of these New Jersey dog parks? Do you have a favorite we haven’t listed? Let us know in the comments!

All park photos taken from the affiliated municipal or non-profit website unless otherwise indicated.

Best Dog Parks in NYC
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Written by

Kelsey Snyder

Kelsey is a K9 of Mine contributor who has worked with dogs as a shift runner and office manager of a boarding kennel. When she’s not writing, she can be found throwing a ball or losing at tug of war. An animal lover to the max, she lives in South Jersey with her husband, her five dogs Boomer, Taj, Batman, Maya, and Moxie, some kitties, and two grumpy turtles.

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